A map of the route, known as High-Speed 2, by The Transport Politic.
Restless Londoners already have the option of catching a high-speed train to Paris in just over two hours. New plans to build an intercity high-speed rail line between London and Scotland could make the trip up north just as accessible. The United Kingdom may be on the path to joining its neighbors (and, perhaps, the US?) in building a national, intercity high-speed rail system. Last week, Network Rail, the company that manages the UK's rail infrastructure, released a $55 billion proposal for a high-speed rail line that would link up the north and south of the country with the Continent.
The plan would create some 1,500 miles of track, and eventually carry 43.7 million passengers a year. Its first segments could be operational within ten years, while the entire system would be completed by 2030.
The UK government has made it clear that it views high-speed rail as a more sustainable alternative to air travel, and that it views shifting passengers from air to rail as a national goal. The UK has pledged to lower carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.
Despite a recent report claiming that high-speed rail would actually emit more carbon than a parallel air route, investment in high-speed rail is reportedly supported by members of both of the country's major political parties.
Vietnam Also On Board
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, another long, thin nation is also considering high-speed rail to connect its northern and southern parts. According to The Transport Politic, Vietnam is considering a $56 billion plan to link up its two major cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Mihn City. Once built, the rail line would shorten the trip between the two cities to around 5 hours. Today, the trip takes three days (!) by train.